By Alexander Wong
The Chinese government will continue military drills off its coasts. The government-run newspaper, The People’s Daily, reports that its drills will be carried out despite pressure from foreign nations. This comes at a time where foreign tensions are high among China and its neighboring nations.
Chinese and Taiwanese tensions continue to rise especially in the wake of Donald Trump’s inauguration. As reported by NBC News, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang remarked that the “One China” policy is non-negotiable, calling Taiwan an inalienable part of China in a statement posted on the ministry’s website.” In addition to this, the military drills of China heighten tensions between Taiwan and China, especially during a time where the self-rule of Taiwan contended.
In the past few months, China has been conducting operations and has become more prominent in waters. Lately, a Chinese carrier, the Liaoning, was seen escorting several warships in what appeared to be military drills. The drills have been causing anxiety among its neighboring nations, especially Japan and Taiwan. As reported by Reuters, one of Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force ships and a P3C patrol aircraft have spotted six Chinese naval vessels close to Japans’ shore. Japan also scrambled jets after a helicopter that took off from a Chinese frigate flew near Japan’s Miyako Island.
In response to the foreign pressure, as reported by Reuters, The People’s Daily has stated that these “exaggerations” will not prevent the normal drills of the Chinese military. They also took offense to what they claimed to be “the meddling and disruption of countries from outside the region”, claiming that it does not match the common interests of the Asia-Pacific region and of the world. The report also mentioned that the Chinese military exercises far out at sea will become the norm, despite the tension they are causing. China has also justified their actions by claiming that they must strengthen their navy. As Reuters reports, China is seeking to develop “blue water” naval capabilities to protect the trade lines so critical to its’ economy, defend the interests of its’ citizens domestically and overseas, and uphold its global responsibilities and obligations.
In addition to recent drills off its own coast, China has expanded its drills farther away from its mainland. China has stepped up the frequency of their drills far from home more often as it seeks to hone its operational abilities, such as participating in international anti-piracy patrols off the coast of Somalia. In 2015, five Chinese ships carried out exercises in international waters off the coast of the U.S. state of Alaska. The tensions between the United States and China has gone both ways; China has recently found an American underwater drone off its coast, but has since given it back to the United States.
Along with the naval drills, China has also launched several air force drills. This indicates a similar outlook on increasing the frequency and intensity of military drills, furthering the already heightened tensions between the Chinese and Taiwanese Government.